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In the Forests of Serre

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,387 ratings  ·  132 reviews
In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart...where good and evil entwine and wear each others' faces... and where a bird with feathers of fire can q ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Ace Books
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I read that this book is a retelling of the russian legend "The Firebird". Not being aquainted with that legend, i cannot make comparisons.

The little i can say about this story,(for which i just can't find the proper words) is that the author is a master craft in her genius.

I think i have mentioned this, on another review on some other book by this author, but for me, Mckillip writing is the only kind of poetry that i trully enjoy.
The words are just beautifully chosen, and they fit perfectly l
Patricia A. McKillip just writes pretty. That's the only word I can imagine when I read her. It's such beautiful prose that paints a picture in my mind that carries me through the story with no problem.

This is maybe one of my favorite of her novels. Ronan, the prince of Serre, accidentally runs over the prized white hen of the worst witch in the Forest of Serre, Brume. She curses him with the ability to not find his way home if he leaves his house, at least until he finds her.

Sidonie, the prince
Alexandra Ray
I feel like this book was a puzzle. Each individual piece that I read seemed small and insignificant and maybe frivolous, but then I finished the book, all the pieces put together, and my mind is still blown by how gorgeous the picture is!

I find that her handling of so many characters is so interesting. She managed to weave a story through four separate povs with something like eight main characters. As a writer, this may be part of the reason for my awe. All the characters are well formed. I f
Not my favorite McKillip novel, but still easy to recommend to others. A mix of folk tale and fantasy, with almost too many elements happening in the story.
The perfect description of this fantasy: spellbinding!! It was an enthralling mixture of Russian folklore [a Baba Yaga witch living in a house of bones--no mortar and pestle--and the firebird] and fairytale elements: prince and princess; wizards, an ogre, shapeshifting, talking animals, and the mysterious, frightening, magical Forests in the land of Serre. The author deftly mixed these elements together in a glorious mélange.
Apr 28, 2015 Soorya rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Soorya by: Lisa
Shelves: fantasy
In the Forests of Serre is a beautifully told story that draws inspiration from Russian fairytales, particularly Baba Yaga and the Firebird. McKillip's prose is just stunning, with a sense of rhythm that's almost like poetry - except that I really don't like poetry, but somehow I loved this. The narrative is nicely structured, with well-thought-out character arcs and a few deft reverses that occur when you least expect them.

Many books today aim to be realistic and gritty (and I've loved a fair s
This actually was a pretty good book overall. I didn't think much of it at first, but it grabbed me toward the middle. Still, it wasn't so compelling that I didn't feel like I could put it down, it was mostly read because it was there. The characters really weren't horribly intriguing, or maybe it was the way that they were written wasn't horribly intriguing?
The princess was a typical beautiful and brave princess, the prince was a typical handsome and brave prince. I mean, it's not like I would
Mikko Karvonen
While all of McKillip's books have certain fairy tale -like qualities, In the Forests of Serre embraces them completely and becomes more a folk tale with certain Russian flavor rather than a traditional novel. In doing so, it tells a charming, very neatly constructed story that is at times in danger of becoming overwhelmed by its two flaws, but in the end manages to steer clear of them and offers a rewarding reading experience.

The folk tale quality of the story is evident in almost all the aspec
Perhaps one of McKillip's best fantasies and losing only to "The Riddle-master of Hed" for my favorite. Unlike "The Bells at Sealy Head," which I recently finished, "The Forests of Serre" is much more folkloric, mysterious and, in my opinion, enthralling, and all that keeps me from rating it as five-stats is something that I unfortunately find often in McKillip's writing: a certain sense that the story and characters could go further.

The theme of the book revolves around two ideas, that of the "
Ryan Mishap
A re-telling of an old Russian folktale wherein a mighty kingdom—Serre—is ruled by a fierce warrior king who does not remember where the magic of the land comes from. His son recently lost his wife and son and wishes to die, but the king will have him wed to a daughter of a nearby, smaller kingdom said to be great with magic. On his way back from a war, the prince accidently kills the chicken of a witch and she puts a curse on him that sends him feverishly running through the forest in pursuit ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Catelli
Prince Ronan is being forcibly removed back to his father's castles, from the battles where he had been trying to kill himself since the death of his wife and infant child. He accidentally tramples on the white hen of the witch Brume, and when her requests for recompense are too dangerous, she curses him to leave his father's castle and never find his way back until he finds her again. After he is informed that he is marrying again, he sees a firebird and sets out to follow it in the enchanted f ...more
Patricia A. Mckillip is my new-found favorite author. Written in beautiful prose, concealed meanings and descriptions in her writing create a vivid landscape of wizards and dragons, monsters and stubborn princesses, deceit and hard-won love. With a mysterious phoenix stealing away men's hearts and a cruel one-eyed king with a lust for power. The forest of Serre is full of its own wild magic that cannot be bottled up and controlled, though many try. A wizard too blinded by his own desires to noti ...more
Althea Ann
This book is McKillip's not so much re-told, but re-imagined legend of the witch Baba Yaga and the Firebird.
Princess Sidonie is sent to wed a prince from a neighboring kingdom to form a political alliance and keep peace. But Prince Ronan is still mournng the death of his previous wife and his child, and wants nothing to do with another woman, no matter how lovely. He flees into the wild country - country known to be inhabited by the dangerous and powerful witch Brume. Ronan ends up not only grie
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
Set in a world where stories and dreams become real, In the Forests of Serre is a beautifully told fairy tale, complete with a beautiful (and strong) princess, a cursed broken-hearted prince, a wily wizard and an ogre of a king. The story draws you in, and just as Gyre fell in love with the magic of Serre, it's easy to be transported there for a time while reading McKillip's lovely prose.

Well drawn characters and a steady pace keep the story going to a magical end. Recommended for those who nev
It never ceases to surprise me the beauty of McKillip's writing: her words read almost like poetry, with such a prodigious use of metaphors and comparisons and awe-inspiring sentences that makes the readers loose themselves into the world she crafts; she describes it with such talent, to the point we can hear the wind rustling the leaves of a tree.

Seldom have I read another author with such an amazing gift for the written language... she really does make her stories read like poetry... or like a
The prince Sidonie is bound to marry–Ronan–still grieves for his dead wife and child. His father forced him into the new marriage, and he escapes by losing himself in the magical lands. He was cursed by the evil witch Brume, and ends up losing his heart somewhere along the way. Sidonie becomes determined to find and return his heart, for she’d rather have a husband who mourns his lost family than one who is cold and distant.

Dark magics abound in this tale. Unciel, the wizard, tries to keep an ey
Intriguing, entrancingly wandering story, beautifully told. I still fill a bit mystified and not quite satisfied by it all. I think that's the mark of a well-written story, leaving the reader ever-so hungry for more, but then again, I want to be satisfied by the singular tales and stand-alone novels I read, not left wondering if everything will work out or what, if anything, will happen next. I really enjoyed this book, though I had to work to keep track of where the story was wandering, who was ...more
This book only got three of the four stars McKillip's books get mainly because I didn't feel that the storyline ever really gelled to the point that I cared about the characters as much as I did in her other books.

This one borrows much from Russian fairy tales (the Firebird, the witch with her house of bones that walks through the forest). It is enchanting and a good read, just not, in my opinion quite as good as some of her other books.
Flora Bateman
This was such a delightful read. McKillip has a way of weaving stories within stories making them as fluid as water. Woven in the story of Sidonie and Ronan is the threads of love lost forever thru death, love uncertain and found in unlikely ways, as well as life with out love. Its also the story of hearts that are broken, taken and mended and how much you miss of life if you don't see with your heart.
Emma Jolie
3.5 stars!

First and foremost, McKillips books have THE best covers. You can always get a glimpse of what the story inside will hold just by searching the cover. The artwork is just beautiful in every way.

The Forests of Serre is a retelling of the tale of "The Firebird". Having read this book first, I plan on looking more into the firebird tale in the future. This book is full of many feelings and it takes another glimpse into the human soul, determining the lengths a person would go to get what
Nov 30, 2008 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fairy tale buffs
Recommended to Kate by: Stephanie
Thank you, Stephanie, for turning me on to Patricia McKillip. If there were such a thing as "cozy fantasy," this would be it. I love her writing and her ability to make a short fairy tale into a rich story full of characters you can relate to, care about, and will remember. On to the next one!
Monica Davis
A very imaginative tale, filled with interesting characters and magical adventures. In some ways it merely scratched the surface; offering a glimmer, a peek into the potential of what could easily be a second tale, or series of books that could stand the Forests of Serre.
As other readers have stated, I also find her writing too ethereal. It is very pretty prose but it lacks punch and an adult plot. I think it would be better if it was published as an illustrated (abridged of course ) children`s book...
Patricia A. McKillip- the author I love for a single idea or a certain character even when the book and/or execution is not that great.

And no, I'm not one of those people who will read anything from an author, regardless of quality. This is only the second McKillip book I've read.
I love this author's writing style- very descriptive, but never too much. She gives you guidelines, then lets you have your freedom in imagining what she's presenting. Sometimes this can get confusing, since you don't a
McKillip novels work, or don't work, for me based mostly on the strength of the characterisation. Her prose is lovely, her plots follow a very satisfying fantasy logic; these things are a given. I find that they need to be animated by compelling characters and relationships, though, or it's all just gossamer.

In The Forests of Serre … didn't work for me.

I thought it was a beautiful, twisty sort of fairytale story with a capricious narrative (that's a good thing). I loved the way McKillip used mag
Paola (A Novel Idea)
Originally posted at A Novel Idea Reviews

Rating: 4/5

Prince Ronan lost his wife and infant child, and now he seeks only to join them in the afterlife. Riding to battle recklessly, paying no heed to his own well-being, and leading his men dauntlessly through his father’s endless wars all prove in vain…until Ronan encounters the Mother of all Witches in a desolate part of his native Serre, and accidentally tramples her favorite white chicken. In her anger, the Witch curses Ronan to never find his w
Kate  K. F.
In The Forests of Serre is a book that looks at what is magic and what are stories. Serre is a small kingdom that has a great deal of magic but not a great deal of money. The only son of Serre has recently returned from war and wishes to live as peaceful a life as he can with his difficult father and quiet mother. Instead he angers a witch and loses his heart to the Firebird. When Sidonie of the neighboring and richer kingdom comes to marry him, she finds him entangled with the witch's curse and ...more
Amanda Kespohl
If you've read my past reviews of Patricia McKillip's books, you've figured out by now that I worship and adore her writing. The poetry of her words, the dreaminess of her worlds, the exquisite romance, and the way she plays my feelings like a well-tuned harp... These things keep me coming back for more.

However, even though I've loved everything I've read by McKillip so far, this may be one of my very favorite books she's written. I was captivated by how beautifully she captured the grief of Pri
I fell in love with Patricia McKillip's writing many years ago when, as a teenager, I discovered her Riddle-Master trilogy in the library. From there, I pretty much read all her books as they came out. McKillip's writing is beautiful; it's lyrical, poetical, full of fantastic imagery and amazing ideas. But it also is never simple. Mostly, that simply enhances the story, but sometimes I find it opaque as well and I'm left confused. It's the former far more than the latter, but after failing to fi ...more
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Into the Forest: In the Forests of Serre spoilers 20 18 Oct 31, 2014 04:15AM  
Into the Forest: In the Forests of Serre no spoilers 11 16 Sep 18, 2014 05:43PM  
Patricia Mckillip, book suggestion 3 12 Jul 08, 2013 08:52AM  
  • The Fox Woman
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon
  • In the Cities of Coin and Spice (The Orphan's Tales, #2)
  • Deerskin
  • The Anvil of the World (Lord Ermenwyr, #1)
  • Elfland (Aetherial Tales, #1)
  • Tamsin
  • The Fair Folk
  • Bone and Jewel Creatures
  • The Nightingale
  • Thomas the Rhymer
  • White as Snow
  • Foxmask (The Light Isles, #2)
  • Sister Light, Sister Dark (Great Alta, #1)
  • Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

According to Fantasy Book
More about Patricia A. McKillip...
Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy (Riddle-Master, #1-3) The Forgotten Beasts of Eld The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1) Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master, #2) Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3)

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“Words, he decided, were inadequate at best, impossible at worst. They meant too many things. Or they meant nothing at all.” 137 likes
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